Leading a team remotely

How to make work a better place for your virtual team

While all of us come to work every day for various reasons, there are several universal things that make remote work better. In remote teams, leaders have the opportunity to create an environment in which a team can flourish by building a sense of competency, autonomy, and relatedness for everyone. When people feel that they are competent in what they are doing, that they have a choice of tasks and independence, and that somebody at work cares about them, they feel happier, grow better professionally, and feel more engaged with their jobs. Let’s dive into the best remote management practices that allow leaders to build competency, autonomy, and relatedness at work.

Building competency through feedback and recognition

Picture this: You’re an employee, working hard day in and day out but feeling a little unsure about your abilities. Sound familiar? Well, it is a reality for several of us. As a manager, one of your primary responsibilities is to build a competent and high-performing team. The key to achieving this is providing regular feedback and recognition to your employees.


Feedback is like a mirror. It reflects your strengths and weaknesses and helps you identify areas where you need to improve. That’s why it is essential to help your team members grow and develop skills to achieve their goals. Here are some tips for sharing productive feedback: The best strategy is to balance positive and corrective feedback. Focus more on progress than on the goal itself. Every goal is a complex milestone whose completion is somewhere far on the horizon. Not seeing progress toward a goal can bring anxiety and self-doubt to your team. Instead, celebrate every step toward your employee’s goal because every little win counts. Recognition Recognition is like a pat on the back. It makes you feel valued and appreciated for your hard work. And who doesn’t love a little appreciation? Recognition is equally crucial in fostering a culture of growth and excellence. Providing personalized recognition to your team members shows them that you understand their goals, motivations, and challenges, and value their hard work.

Research shows that symbolic awards, such as congratulatory cards and public recognition, can boost motivation, retention, and performance. But here’s the catch: It has to be genuine. Insincere recognition can actually do more harm than good. One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to recognition. Take time to understand your team members’ preferences and what motivates them, and rely on facts when recognizing the achievements of your team members. Use the same models that you use for any other type of feedback.

Building competency is all about creating a culture of growth and excellence. Encouraging cooperation and collaboration, and providing regular feedback, recognition, and encouragement—it all adds up. So, let’s build a community that values progress, recognizes hard work, and fosters growth. When we all grow together, we all win.

Fostering autonomy in fully remote settings

People’s motivation flourishes when they feel that they are mastering their environment. Providing autonomy to your team members means giving them the freedom to fulfill their tasks using the way that works for them, providing them with choice options when possible, and encouraging initiative.

The following is a list of best practices that you might use starting today to foster autonomy and independence among your team members:

  • Initiate discussions about your team’s product development by setting up regular grooming meetings.
  • Create a safe space for everyone to voice their opinions by using active listening.
  • Acknowledge the feelings and perspectives of subordinates.
  • Provide choice options in tasks end encourage self-selected goal setting when possible.
  • Know the values of your people, and try to provide them opportunities to align their tasks with their values.
  • Provide access to resources in a non-controlling manner.
  • Create a clear vision of the future and the roles of individual contributions in this picture.
  • Reward your team to acknowledge employee competence.

If you’d like to create a culture of autonomy in your team, take a look at the comprehensive independence empowering strategies guide.

Crafting social relations in remote teams

How do we create a sense of belonging and meaningful connections when we’re all working from different places?

It all boils down to relatedness, which means feeling like we’re part of something bigger than ourselves and forming close relationships with others. We can achieve this in three ways: individually, as a team, and at the organizational level.

On an individual level, it’s all about letting our guard down and being open and honest with our coworkers. We can bond over shared humor and disclose personal stories, which can create a sense of trust and intimacy.

At the team level, we need to care for each other, work toward a common goal, and make time to connect with one another. When we have a sense of purpose and feel like we’re in it together, our relationships can deepen and become more fulfilling.

And, of course, let’s not forget about the power of appreciation! At the organizational level, recognition of our hard work and achievements can go a long way toward making us feel valued and connected to our company.

One of the great practices of building a connection is holding 1:1 sessions every 6-12 months to keep track of your team members’ development. Here are several questions you might want to ask your team:

  1. What’s the best part about working on this team?
  2. Do you feel adequately supported in your professional development?
  3. What’s the career direction that you’re interested in currently?
  4. How does the team dynamic influence your day-to-day?
  5. Is there anything you wish you got from your job that you don’t?

Another way to promote relatedness is by introducing an ally. An ally is someone who shares your characteristics, such as race, sexuality, gender, or health. Connecting with someone who “gets it” can help prevent exclusion and promote diversity within your team.

Building relatedness in remote teams is just as important as keeping up with the latest news. So let’s work on building those connections and creating a positive and productive work environment, even when we’re miles apart. Because, at the end of the day, isn’t it all about the people we work with?

Overcoming personal doubts when leading a team

As a leader, it’s not uncommon to face moments of self-doubt. You’re responsible for a team, and sometimes it feels like you’re flying blind. But fear not, because authentic leadership is the key to unlocking your confidence and building trust with your team.

Authentic leadership is all about finding your true self and leading from there. It’s about being self-aware, knowing your values and beliefs, and using them to build trust and credibility with your team. It’s the perfect antidote for those pesky doubts that are holding you back.

To be an authentic leader, you need to start by finding your unique leadership style. Take a step back, reflect on your values, personality, and beliefs, and find ways to incorporate them into your leadership approach. When you lead in a manner that feels natural and true to yourself, your confidence will soar and those doubts will disappear.

Building trust is another essential aspect of authentic leadership. By encouraging diverse viewpoints and building collaborative relationships with your team, you’ll create a sense of belonging that breeds trust. Valuing individual differences and helping team members build their talents into strengths will show your team that you care, and they’ll respond in kind.

Authentic leaders know that their behavior sets the tone for the rest of the team. By modeling ethical behavior and encouraging open communication, you’ll create a safe space for your team to be themselves. They’ll feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings, and you’ll build strong relationships as a result.

In conclusion, being an authentic leader is all about staying true to yourself and building trust with your team through collaborative relationships and ethical behavior. So embrace your uniqueness and watch your doubts fade away!